Safe Water and Sanitation – A Human Right

Safe Water and Sanitation – A Human Right
Water, one of the most
essential element of life, we have learnt in our school days. Learnt and
forgotten, perhaps, because access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene has
become a dream or a myth for the majority of our population living in low
income settlements, so much so that the old saying has become so true in the
real sense, “Water, Water Everywhere, but not a drop to drink”.


It has become very
pertinent that we spread the awareness and attention on the issue of water and
sanitation. It is time that we understand that access to safe water is perhaps
the root cause of society’s pressing concerns today, to such an extent that the
survival of humanity depends to a great extent on the fate of water.


It is a sign of good
times to come that the United Nations has declared that access to safe water
and sanitation is a human right that applies equally in times of peace and in
emergencies.


It is a real
unfortunate state of affairs that with the growing urban conglomerate, the
population of the low income settlements spring up like mushrooms around the
urban settings. These settlements are mostly without the proper sanitation
facilities and are prone to water related diseases the most.


It is very important
that this most vulnerable group of our population are provided the basic needs
of safe water and sanitation. Apart from the Government initiatives in this
field, many non-governmental organisations too have volunteered to lend their
support to this cause.


TERI University and
USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) has been engaged in this
noble cause for a long time. They have associated in India with TERI (The
Energy and Resources Institute) and
Coca-Cola to develop and implement this unique program in our country.

The first initiative
was launched in Kolkata yesterday in the name of “Strengthening Water and
Sanitation in Urban Settings” to be more commonly referred to as the “
WASH program” (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene).

To be immediately
emulated in Chennai, this unique program is intended to reach over 50,000
beneficiaries in low income settlements in the slums of Kolkata and Chennai.


Apart from the
immediate direct benefit to the vulnerable group of the population living in
these slums, the program also intends to start the WASH governance studies
which are expected to reach over 300 professionals.

The unique initiative
will also be able to reach over 2,500 students to spread the message of the
need for safe water and sanitation through 20 municipal schools across India.


The WASH program is one
of a kind association which has never been done before that will lead to a
healthy development of low income settlements in the area where it will be
adopted.

Let us all join hands
with WASH to make the dream of safe water and sanitation as a human right, a
reality.

It's only fair to share...
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